Premier David Mabuza has called on municipalities such as Msukaligwa in Ermelo and Emalahleni that have outstanding electricity accounts with Eskom to consider handing back their vending businesses to the power utility to avoid service delivery interruptions.
Mabuza, cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC Refilwe Mtshweni and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen, made the plea to the municipalities at a meeting with Eskom representatives and municipal managers in Mbombela on Wednesday.
The meeting emerged after Eskom’s recent announcement to switchoff power supply to the two municipalities in a bid to compel them to keep their accounts up to date.
Mabuza said the advice to municipalities was to cease from involving themselves in the electricity selling business as it would bring a viable resolution.
“Our municipalities do not have the capacity to sell electricity and collect revenue. The municipalities should settle the debt and consider handing back to Eskom the function of selling electricity.
“I want a sustainable solution. Let us introduce a culture of paying for the services. We need to improve our billing systems as well as our revenue collection capacity,” Mabuza said.
He said although an agreement to settle the accounts had already been made between the municipalities and Eskom, he was not satisfied as a result of his long call to municipalities not to disturb service delivery, especially electricity by ensuring that their financial records with Eskom were up to date.
“I am not going to agree on these agreements and stand surety to step in when they renege on the commitments. I don’t have trust on them with regards to settling the Eskom debt.”